Boston Celtics vs. Cleveland Cavaliers – NBA, May 12, 2021

By Dean McHugh in NBA
| May 12, 2021 7:41 am PDT

The Celtics face-off against the Cavaliers tonight in this NBA Eastern Conference matchup. Boston is pretty much assured seventh in the east and, therefore, will be looking to fine-tune their game heading into the playoffs.

Although the Cavaliers can’t qualify for the playoffs, they perhaps have more to play for tonight as they look to avoid finishing last in the Conference and the Central Division.

The Celtics have won 12 of the last 13 meetings between these two. However, it was the Cavaliers that claimed the win when they previously met in March.

Cleveland shot incredibly that night, going at 54% from the field goal range and 43% from deep. This indeed went against the trend of recent games between these two as it’s always been the Celtics that have shot much better, averaging a whopping seven percent more from the field goal range in recent years.

That win for the Cavaliers ended a run of six straight defeats against the Celtics in Cleveland, and with Boston seemingly having very little to play for tonight, they may be able to build on that.

Given the Celtics’ dominance of this fixture, it will come as no surprise to see they have averaged an enormous 15-points more than the Cavaliers over their previous ten encounters.

Their dominance has been spread across the course of these matches almost equally as they have averaged eight more first-half points and seven more second-half points.

Here is my Celtics vs. Cavaliers betting preview.

Celtics vs. Cavaliers Odds

Celtics -10-110
Cavaliers +10-110
Celtics To Win-450
Cavaliers To Win+425
Over 219.5 Points-110
Under 219.5 Points-110

Given how well the Celtics have performed against the Cavaliers, it is no wonder the spread is so big here. When they last met in March, the spread was slightly smaller at seven and a half points, and as we know, the Cavaliers went on to win that one straight up.

One thing that has changed significantly is the points total which was a full seven points smaller previously. Given they went over that total by 15-points, the bookmakers are taking no chances tonight.

The Celtics have a split record of 20-20 from their 40 matches against Eastern Conference opposition. Likewise, the Cavaliers have a split record of 10-10 from their 20 home games against teams from the east coast.

This suggests the matchup could be closer than many think tonight.

Celtic’s Analysis

The Celtics are in poor form right now, and with little motivation tonight, that form could continue. They have lost four of their last five and only picked up three wins from their previous ten games.

This includes losing back-to-back games against the Heat, which was severely damaging to their season as it’s Miami who has now claimed the last automatic playoff berth.

Their sole win recently came in a crushing 36-point defeat of another team towards the bottom of the Conference, the Orlando Magic. The Celtics dominated the match from start to finish winning all four quarters of the game.

Boston hasn’t been great on the road this season, having won 14 and lost 19 of their 33 road trips. They put a run of five straight wins in a row but have since gone on to lose three of their next four.

Here are the latest betting trends for Boston:

Against The Spread

  • They have lost five of their last six matches.
  • Boston is 7-3 in their previous ten games on the road.
  • The Celtics have only won two of their last ten matches against Eastern Conference opponents

There is nothing substantial to go on here besides the fact that the Celtics have struggled against Eastern Conference teams this season.

Points Total

  • Eight of their previous nine games have gone over the betting total.
  • Only one of their last seven visits to Cleveland has failed to go over the points total.

This suggests there could be quite a few points on offer this evening.

Other Pointers

  • They have lost four of their previous five matches against teams based in the Central Division.

This stat is self-explanatory.

The Celtics have an average offense this season that has averaged 112-points per game. Perhaps their most significant weapon in attack has been their offensive rebounding which is amongst the best in the league this season.

They have shot reasonably well from a distance this season, scoring at a respectable 37%.

Their defense has been decent for the large part of the season.

The Celtics will miss Brown this evening as he will miss the remainder of the season with a wrist injury. There are also question marks over the fitness of Williams, who has been struggling with an injured toe.

Cavaliers Analysis

The Cavaliers are on a dreadful run, having lost their last 11 games straight. The last time they won a game was almost a month ago when they beat the Bulls. When I look at that game and the game where they beat the Celtics recently, one thing is apparent: Colin Sexton needs to perform as he was the star of the show on both occasions.

They have been shocking at home this season, having only picked up 12 wins from 35 matches. That win over Chicago was their only win in their previous 13 games played in Cleveland.

Here are the latest betting trends for Cleveland:

Against The Spread

  • Cleveland has only won one of their previous 11 matches.
  • They have lost six of their last seven games against teams from the east coast.

These stats don’t bode well for the Cavaliers and highlight the fact that not only are they losing, but they’re also losing badly.

Points Total

  • Four of their last six games have gone over the betting total.
  • Only one of their previous seven matches against Boston has failed to go over the points total.
  • The total has gone over in eight of their last 11 games against opponents from the Atlantic Division.

All signs point to a high-scoring, entertaining game.

The Cavaliers have the worst offense in the NBA this season, period! They are only averaging 103-points per game, and their three-point shooting is worse than some college teams shooting ability.

However, they do have it in their locker, and they had shot well on occasions, as they did when the two teams met previously. However, those performances are few and far between.

They are often sloppy in possession and make a high number of turnovers each game.

The good news is they have attacked much better at home and have averaged four points more per game.

Despite them not covering their opponents very well, their defense has been okay and should match the Celtics’ offense. Although I must highlight they are conceding on average two more points per game at home, which somewhat undoes the excellent work their offense is doing at home.

Their defensive rebounding is an area for concern, especially seen as how well the Celtics have rebounded in attack this season.

The Cavaliers have been one of the worst teams in the NBA this season, and perhaps unlike some of the others who have struggled, this has been the case for almost all of the season.

However, they haven’t tried to shy away from their problems, and they remain a hardworking team. They have never given up, and this is something they have to be commended for.

Their long list of injuries certainly hasn’t helped things, and tonight they will miss Dellavedova, Nance Junior, Prince, Hartenstein, Windler, Garland, and Stevens.

On top of that, Osman is listed as questionable, but they are hopeful of having Love back in the line-up this evening.

Celtics vs. Cavaliers Pick

  • Celtics -10

The Cavaliers seemingly have more to play for here and are certainly the more hardworking of the two teams, and therefore you would assume I am taking them this evening. Well, you’re wrong!

The Celtics are often at their best when the pressure is off as it suits their free-flowing style, and they can play more expressively.

They are also almost sure to win the rebounding battle, and with the Cavaliers making a high number of turnovers, it could mean they see very little of the ball tonight. Plus, it is hard to ignore their long list of injuries at present.

Take the Celtics minus the handicap here.



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